Finished up This Traveling Season in Ohio

The Travel season for me: OFFICIALLY OVER!!

Next week, the staff @campkivu start arriving to our 500 acre facility outside Durango Colorado,  and our summer project begins.

It’s always a bitter/sweet transition.  You know you get used to doing one thing, and then you switch abruptly to a new schedule.  I really like the travel season.

I get to meet new people.
Usually, I get to hang out and discover new ways of thinking.
I get a good education on how the rest of the country is dealing with economy, social issues, and politics.
But most of all, I love making new friends.

This week I was in Sylvania Ohio at St. Joseph’s Parish and School.  I gotta tell you, I love my Catholic friends.  What a great community of people!!

This week at St. Joseph’s was their annual “Positive Direction” week.  For the last 28 years, they take a week to bring in speakers to talk to students about how to make good choices, how to see consequences before they choose them, and how to lock arms together to succeed through school.

At the end of the week, they run a huge 5K where all the students celebrate the week.

So last night, I was sitting at dinner, and the host of the event asked me, “So you want to run with the kids?”

“SURE!!  I’d LOVE TO!” I said, and then realized a 5K is actually a real 3.1 mile run through the neighborhood.  Whew…what am I thinking.  My unprepared brain started taking inventory of my aging aching body.

This morning, I geared up in my Adidas shorts, Running Shoes, and USA Pro Cycling baseball hat.  I was determined to finish this race.  I mean, how hard can it be, right?

We arrived at the starting line, the cops already closed down the right lane of the road that meanders through town.  All kinds of parents and friends were lined the roads shaking cow bells, whistling and cheering the kids on for their positive choices week.

The gun sounded.
The kids starting running…and I mean FAST!!!
I looked over at another parent running the race, he was already breathing hard, Just wait for about a quarter of a mile and these kids will DIE.  I saw in his eyes.

It was gonna be a long run.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw a kid stumble a bit and say, “Im ALREADY TIRED”

Oh man, that kid is in trouble  I thought.

And the next thought All his friend rand off on him.  OH MAN!!  Guess I’ll have to walk with him….DARN! (please read as much sarcasm in that comment as possible.)

So it was me and Sean.
Sean and me.
We started walking.
Mind you, we were only 30 yards into this 5K, so I’m thinking this is gonna take a while.

We tried to set goals.  Hey Sean, see that light pole up there, lets run to that one.

And we’d run for a bit.
Sean would hold his chest acting like he was having a heart attack.
His breathing would increase like he was experiencing a respiratory failure.
But we kept walking.
Hey sean, let’s run to the cornerI, I’d say.  And then we’d run and all the parents and kids called his name outloud.

SEAN, YOU CAN DO IT!!

We’d stop at the corner, walk for a 1/4 of a mile, and run another 50 yards.

It was the longest 5K of my life.
But you know what, I learned a lot about my new friend, Sean.

He lives with his mom and brother
HIs brother loves the idea of shooting a pellet gun at unsuspecting birds out his window
He loves playing video games
He enjoys hanging out with friends
He knows an awful lot about geese for some reason
We talked sports, school, and future stuff.
We had a great day.

Running about 50 yards, and then walking another 100.

About halfway through a couple of teachers came to join us.
Then, with 1/4 mile left to go all his friends joined us.
We were the final pair coming into the finish, and when his friends started chanting, “Let’s Go Sean.  Let’s Go Sean”  His head lifted and his legs started moving.

You should have seen him.
With about 25 other kids in his class, Sean crossed the finish line. You could tell on his face,   He felt like a million bucks.

I just started thinking about how honoring it is to make friends like Sean.
He taught me so much today.
He showed me how my need to win needs to be replaced with my need to make friends.
He showed me how important it is to continue to have people around you to run through the finish line.
He knew what his body could do, and what it couldn’t.  Sean was a realist.

At the end of the race, I just sat back, said a little prayer, and helped clean up the mess.

Here’s to a wonderful group of people at St. Josephs.
You were kind enough to let me come and share my thoughts on teen issues.
You let me run with your kids.
And your kind hosting was more than impressive.  Thank you so much.

And now…I’m off to start the next phase of the year.  @CampKIVU, here we go!

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